Juno Awards 2020: A guide to the jazz nominees

Nominations for the 2020 Juno Awards have arrived.

Among the Canadian jazz veterans up for Junos this year are Jane Bunnett, Dave Young, Al Muirhead, Ted Quinlan and Mark Kelso, while others including Monkey House, Dominique Fils-Aimé and Jazz Affair have earned their first nominations.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are nominated for jazz album of the year, group, for their latest effort On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme. The Cuban-Canadian group won that same category the last time it was nominated in 2015. It is the 15th nomination for Bunnett, who has won five Junos throughout her career.

Al Muirhead and Mark Kelso both earn their second nominations four years after they each got their first. The Mark Kelso Jazz Project is in the solo category, for The Chronicles of Fezziwig; Al Muirhead’s Canadian Quintet is in the group category for Undertones.

Ted Quinlan’s recording Absolutely Dreaming — which JAZZ.FM91 named one of the top albums of 2019 — has landed him his first Juno nomination since 1998, when his record As If was nominated for best contemporary jazz album.

Dave Young lands his eighth nomination and the second with his trio for Trouble in Mind. The Dave Young Trio was last nominated for a Juno in 1999 with Inner Urge, and Young won his first Juno in 1994 for the album Fables and Dreams with the Phil Dwyer Quartet. Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop is nominated this year for Abundance, only two years after the group’s last nomination for its album Rev. 

The jazz nominees for this year’s Juno Awards come from all over Canada, and five of 15 are independent artists not signed to a record label.

Meanwhile, renowned jazz musicians Bill McBirnie, Bernie Senensky and Ron Davis are nominated in the category of instrumental album of the year. Diana Panton is nominated for children’s album of the year for A Cheerful Little Earful, the second of the vocalist’s records aimed at introducing children to jazz music. Marc Jordan is nominated for adult contemporary album of the year for Both Sides.

Superstar singer Michael Bublé is nominated again for album of the year thanks to his record love. The crooner has won 14 Junos — including three wins for album of the year and one for artist of the year — out of 34 nominations prior to this year.

The Juno Awards take place on Sunday, March 15, in Saskatoon.

Here are all the 2020 nominees in the Junos’ jazz and blues categories.

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year
  • Bria Skonberg – Nothing Never  Happens
  • Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned!
  • Elizabeth Shepherd – MONTRÉAL
  • Jazz Affair – Wishes
  • Monkey House – Friday
Jazz Album of the Year: Solo
  • Jacques Kuba Seguin – MiGRATIONS
  • Joel Miller – UNSTOPPABLE
  • John Stetch – Black Sea Suite
  • Ted Quinlan – Absolutely Dreaming
  • The Mark Kelso Jazz Project – The Chronicles of Fezziwig
Jazz Album of the Year: Group
  • Al Muirhead’s Canadian Quintet – Undertones
  • Brad Turner Quartet with Seamus Blake – Jump Up
  • Dave Young Trio – Trouble in Mind
  • Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop – Abundance
  • Jane Bunnett and Maqueque – On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme
Blues Album of the Year
  • Big Dave McLean – Pocket Full of Nothin’
  • Dawn Tyler Watson – Mad Love
  • Durham County Poets – Hand Me Down Blues
  • Michael Jerome Browne – That’s Where It’s At
  • Whitehorse – The Northern South Vol. 2